Deserfest London 2016: Final Headliner Announced and Lineup Complete

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 28th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Well, that’s a wrap for Desertfest London 2016… unless, you know, you count the actual holding of the fest in April. Which you should probably count. Okay, maybe not a wrap at all.

But the lineup is complete, and that’s something in itself. Spanning genres and geographical borders, I feel like this year’s Desertfest London perfectly emphasizes just how much this festival has grown in its five years into this encompassing celebration of heavy rock, sludge and doom, holding firm to its local roots even in this last batch of bands, while also expanding its reach in pulling legendary acts from beyond the UK and Europe as well.

Russian Circles will headline the second of Desertfest London 2016’s three dog nights, and a slew of others have joined the bill as well, including Mondo DragStinking Lizaveta, underrated Londoners Crystal HeadSiena Root and many more details below:

desertfest london 2016 poster

DESERTFEST LONDON: lineup complete with Russian Circles headlining the Saturday!

Russian Circles to headline the fifth edition of DESERTFEST LONDON this spring in Camden!

It’s finally here: your complete DESERTFEST LONDON 2016 line-up has arrived! Chicago’s majestic instrumental progsters Russian Circles are set to headline the Saturday night with Pelican as lead support. Not only that, but we have the mighty forefathers of doom Trouble celebrating their 30th anniversary with a very special show for us, just before Electric Wizard bring down the Sunday night curtain in style! See you all in April…

Desertfest is all about our passion for heavy music, our love through deep-rooted friendships and above all, our collective appreciation of diversity, musical skill and the broadest range of powerful performances…

RUSSIAN CIRCLES are not from the desert, they’re not exponents of standard 5-minute, 4-4 rock songs and they expose their soundscapes exclusively for us to form our own interpretations without the mask of any form of lyrics. Shrouded in darkness, illuminated only by flashes of white light and the occasionally projected visual, they’re performers worthy of headlining any show in front of an audience who have the ability to think before they roar. With fellow instrumental crusher-destroyers PELICAN primed and ready as their main support, get ready to see, smell and FEEL the sheer weight of these swirls of Siberia.

Desertfest is also proudly joining in with Chicago doom legends TROUBLE’s 30th anniversary celebrations. Original members Bruce Franklin and Rick Wartell will be touching the sky with their classic dual guitar leads and now-established front man Kyle Thomas (Alabama Thunderpussy, Floodgate, Exhorder) will be tempting the crowds with his prayers for the dead, it’s going to be a real mind bender!

The rest of final announcement for Desertfest London 2016 goes as follows:
SIENA ROOT
STINKING LIZAVETA
DYSE
MANTAR
MONDO DRAG
GURT
NECRO DEATHMORT
CAROUSEL
THE MOTH
CRYSTAL HEAD
SPIDER KITTEN
SEDULUS
BEASTMAKER
DOG DAYS

– DESERTFEST LONDON 2016 –
April 29th to May 1st in Camden, London (UK)
Weekend tickets available AT THIS LOCATION

https://www.leedstickets.com/eventinfo/4804/Desertfest-2016
http://www.thedesertfest.com/london/
https://twitter.com/DesertFest
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestLondon
https://instagram.com/desertfest
http://desertfest.bigcartel.com/

Russian Circles, Live at Saint Vitus Bar 2014

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Eric Wagner Posts Acoustic Track “An Absurd Jurisdiction”

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 18th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

eric wagner

Apparently it’s been a busy couple weeks for Eric Wagner. The former Trouble vocalist has got a new solo album out, an acoustic release called Highdeas Vol. 1 that seems to be drawn from demos and raw versions of material that would later be developed for records by his current bands The Skull and Blackfinger. A self-release put on sale in Wagner‘s BigCartel store, it’s available now, which if you’ve ever heard him sing is probably about all you need to know to make you click onward to a purchase. Fair enough.

In addition to that, The Skull have added guitarist Rob Wrong of Witch Mountain to their lineup, which, frankly, was something of a surprise. Wrong takes the place of sometimes-Pentagram axeman Matt Goldsborough alongside The Skull‘s Lothar Keller, Wagner, bassist Ron Holzner and drummer Sean Saley, the latter of whom is also a Pentagram expat. The Skull also recently filmed a hometown show in Chicago for who knows what purpose, and will head out on a rather extensive European tour come Spring that includes a stop at Roadburn 2016. I’m assuming they’ll head back to the US sometime between, but they’ll also be appearing at Hellfest in France come June.

Like I say, a lot going on for Wagner, who posted the track “An Absurd Jurisdiction” in order to get word out about the release of Highdeas Vol. 1. Find the cover — reminiscent of some self-released Trouble live records from years past — album info, links, and of course the song itself, below:

eric wagner highdeas vol. 1

The legendary voice of Trouble, Blackfinger, and The Skull, Eric Wagner enters the studio with nothing more than his acoustic guitar.

“Highdeas Vol. 1” is a collection of early song drafts that would eventually become part of The Skull and Blackfinger. Just Eric and his acoustic. Released 2015.

1. On Tuesday Morning
2. Trapped Inside My Mind
3. Ima Ghost
4. All The Leaves Are Brown
5. An Absurd Jurisdiction
6. Here Comes The Rain
7. My Many Colored Days
8. Yellowood
9. Heaven
10. As Long As I’m With You

http://ericwagner.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/troubletheskull/

Eric Wagner, “An Absurd Jurisdiction”

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The Skull Debut Album For Those Which are Asleep Coming Nov. 4

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Don’t put 2014 to bed yet! After releasing their debut single earlier this year (review here), The Skull will issue their first full-length, For Those Which are Asleep, on Nov. 4 via Tee Pee Records. I’m in genuine suspense to hear how the Trouble offshoot — vocalist Eric Wagner, bassist Ron Holzner and drummer Jeff “Oly” Olson hailing from the seminal Chicago doomers — pay homage to their origins and even more how guitarists Lothar Keller and Matt Goldsborough (ex-Pentagram) distinguish themselves in tone and style and thus plot a new course for The Skull distinct from that of the band to whom they were originally formed as a tribute.

The title fascinates as well. The phrase “for those which are asleep” would seem to speak of things not human, otherwise it would be “for those whom are asleep.” Not sure if it’s meant to speak of an personify inanimate objects or if it’s just an odd turn of phrase, but it’s one more thing to add intrigue — if only to grammar dorks — about the album.

The Skull have the unenviable task of driving from Montreal to Delaware next weekend to appear at the Wings of Metal and Vultures of Volume festival. Bit of a hike that I’m sure will prove worth their while.

A certain PR wire has specifics:

the skull for those which are asleep

THE SKULL to Release For Those Which Are Asleep November 4

Metal Band Featuring Former Members of Doom Legends TROUBLE and PENTAGRAM Finalize Debut LP

THE SKULL — the new band featuring original members Eric Wagner (vocals) and Jeff “Oly” Olson (drums) of American doom metal legends TROUBLE alongside longtime TROUBLE bassist Ron Holzner, guitarist Lothar Keller (SACRED DAWN) and former PENTAGRAM guitarist Matt Goldsborough will release their debut album For Those Which Are Asleep on November 4 via Tee Pee Records, the NYC independent record label known for releasing landmark albums from acts such as High on Fire, Graveyard, Earthless and Sleep.

Written and recorded this past spring, For Those Which Are Asleep features ten tracks of elemental Heavy Metal and is the first full length album to feature Wagner, Holzner and Olson since the 1995 release of TROUBLE’s critically acclaimed LP Plastic Green Head. The new record’s greatest strength is how well it captures the apocalyptic trudge that Trouble delivered from the first downbeat of their 1984 debut, but now unequivocally propelled by the hallmarks of a hungry new band fueled by new blood. The mighty voice of Wagner is on full display; the vocalist proving on For Those Which Are Asleep that he still wields an eerie power at the mic. Titanic riffs abound as Keller and Goldsborough weave ominous atmospheres over the molten, crushing core of Holzner and Olson’s sinister strut. Make no mistake, THE SKULL are in complete command of their craft and have capably created a modern classic; a recording where atmosphere is established as drums crash, guitars blare and stories are told.

For Those Which Are Asleep track listing:

1.) Trapped Inside My Mind
2.) The Touch of Reality
3.) Sick of It All
4.) The Door
5.) Send Judas Down
6.) A New Generation
7.) Till the Sun Turns Black
8.) For Those Which Are Asleep
9.) Sometime Yesterday Mourning
10.) The Last Judgment

This month, THE SKULL will pay tribute to TROUBLE’s landmark debut Psalm 9 (which Wagner and Olson co-wrote and performed on) in celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the record’s release. THE SKULL will perform the influential album in its entirety at both the Wings of Metal Festival (Aug. 29 in Montreal) and the Vultures of Volume Festival (Aug. 30 in New Castle, Delaware) as headliners of each gathering. The band has also been confirmed to perform the full album at Barcelona’s Day of Doom Festival on October 10. Additional shows are expected to be announced as well.

https://www.facebook.com/troubletheskull
https://twitter.com/troubletheskull

The Skull, “Sometime Yesterday Mourning” b/w “The Final Judgment” (2014)

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Friday Full-Length: Trouble, Psalm 9

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 20th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Trouble, Psalm 9 (1984)

If you have any doubt that the reverberations of Trouble‘s 1984 debut, Psalm 9 — released on a then-nascent Metal Blade Records — are still being felt, then I would direct your attention to Cudahy, Wisconsin, where the fourth Days of the Doomed fest is being held this weekend. Trouble, who are headlining that festival this year in a much different incarnation than appeared on this album, have been a guiding principle in underground doom in the US and abroad — you might’ve had Reverend Bizarre or Cathedral without them, but they would’ve been different bands — for 30 years, with a family tree of acts that seems to be constantly expanding and a progressive catalog of classics that varies widely in just about everything except the quality of songwriting and guitar tone.

Psalm 9, though, in addition to establishing the Chicago band as early pioneers in Christian metal, is an album that’s not necessarily timeless in its sound, but has become more righteous with age. Songs like “The Tempter,” “Assassin,” “Bastards Will Pay” and “Psalm 9” remain pinnacles of the kinds of atmospheres doom would explore in their wake, and Trouble‘s adherence to Sabbathian classic tenets in a time where that flew in the face of what was happening in metal — the NWOBHM having come up in the post-Ozzy era, Dio having left Sabbath and the hindsight-awesome Born Again having been released just a year before Psalm 9, in 1983 — helped cement their place in underground hearts. They were doom before there was doom to be.

As always, I hope you enjoy. And if you happen to be in Cudahy for the next couple days, I hope the fest kicks ass. I was sorry I couldn’t be there.

You know where I’ll be? Frickin’ New Jersey, for the second time this month. I can’t bitch about the occasion — I have a wonderful grandmother who is turning 99 — but I sure can bitch about the drive. During the day tomorrow there’s a Star Trek convention that The Patient Mrs. and I were toying with the idea of hitting, but I think the admission for those things is like 50 bucks, and frankly, I don’t have that kind of money, especially needing to buy gas to get south and all that. Fun as that would be both in the actual doing and in the absurdity factor, we’ll see how it goes.

She leaves for Greece for a month next weekend, does The Patient Mrs., traveling internationally as part of a grant she won by being brilliant as she is. Looks like we’re also moving again next weekend — quite literally the day she flies out; movers come next Saturday morning, she goes Saturday night — but the move is just down the road, to a town called East Bridgewater. Still have an awful lot to pack though, and I don’t imagine I’ll feel much like getting started this Sunday night upon returning to Massachusetts, so yeah. If the last move was any indicator, one day this week coming I’ll wake up at four in the morning thinking about needing to pack and just throw a good portion of our earthly possessions in boxes as quickly as possible with little care for things like marking what’s actually in them or breaking glassware. Another day, another condo. I’ll be sorry to lose the central air.

No shows this week. I barely left the house, to be honest with you, and I still feel like there’s never enough time for the things I want to get done. I don’t know what’s on for next week, gig-wise, if there is anything, but I’ll find out. I’m still reeling from that Earthless announcement about the Sleep show in August, but you know, I’d also like to see four or five other gigs before that if I can. I’ll take a look.

Album reviews next week of 1000mods and Mope — though I might decide to do the latter as part of a batch of radio adds. I fucking love that. I don’t know how you feel about it, but sometimes I think that with the longer reviews, nobody really gets that into it, and those shorter ones accomplish the same thing. They’re not as detailed, but for some records, I think it even works better. How much more do you really need to say about the Earthless Meets Heavy Blanket record than it fucking rules? Anyway, it’s something I’m going to keep doing until I get tired of it or distracted or think of something better.

Mope were also included in the podcast that went up today. Thanks for everyone who’s checked that out so far.

Might push back the Lowrider interview to the week after next to bump up C.O.C. and time it to the new album release. Good to be topical every now and then. I haven’t really decided yet, but it’s a maybe. This is what I think about when I should be finding work.

Also, it’s not 100 percent booked, but I might be streaming an instrumental version of the new Wo Fat (review here) at some point in the week. Need to catch up on emails too. And write a Kings Destroy bio. And pack. And spend time with my wife, who I won’t see again until the end of July.

Feeling a little overwhelmed, if you couldn’t tell, but so it goes. Three weeks from now it’ll be something else. It’s all just time.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Please check out the forum and the radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Trouble Added to Days of the Doomed IV

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

So after The Skull, and Blackfinger, and Earthen Grave, and Spillage, and In~Graved, and probably one or two other Trouble-member-inclusive acts I’m forgetting along the way over the last few years, Days of the Doomed has decided it’s time to cut to the chase and bring on Trouble itself. Kudos to Mercyful Mike Smith, who’s made it pretty obvious over the duration of his festival that he’s a fan. The Chicago doom legends are the final band to be announced for Days of the Doomed IV — fortunate, because I don’t think there’s any room left on the flyer — and the runtime for the two-day fest, which is set for June 20 and 21 at The Metal Grill in Cudahy, Wisconsin, has been unveiled. Not at all surprisingly, Trouble headline.

Dig:

OK! The final piece of the puzzle is in place, and we are extremely honored to announce that Chicago doom legends TROUBLE have been added to Days Of The Doomed Fest IV, taking place in Milwaukee, WI on June 20th & 21st at The Metal Grill.

Since TROUBLE’s acquisition of new lead vocalist Kyle Thomas (Exhorder/Floodgate), as well as new bassist Rob Hultz (Solace/Godspeed), they have been performing to European crowds in support of their 2013 release “The Distortion Field”. Days Of The Doomed Fest IV will be among the first shows to see the band returning to the U.S. market, and we are stoked to have them taking part!

With the addition of TROUBLE to Days Of The Doomed Fest IV, the line up has been finalized. The billing is as follows:

Friday, June 20th, 2014 – Doors Open At 3:00 PM
3:00 – 4:00 Metal DJ
4:00 – 4:40 Ancient Dreams
5:00 – 5:40 Stasis
6:00 – 6:45 Wasted Theory
7:05 – 7:50 Witchden
8:10 – 9:00 The Mighty Nimbus
9:20 – 10:20 Orodruin
10:40 – 11:40 Blackfinger (featuring former Trouble vocalist Eric Wagner)
12:00 – 1:00 Las Cruces

Saturday, June 21st, 2014 – Doors Open At 11:30 AM
12:00 – 12:40 Flying Medusa
1:00 – 1:40 Moon Curse
2:00 – 2:45 Sanctus Bellum
3:05 – 3:50 Brimstone Coven
4:10 – 4:55 Spillage (featuring Earthen Grave guitarist Tony Spillman)
5:15 – 6:00 Stone Magnum
6:20 – 7:05 Egypt
7:25 – 8:10 Devil To Pay
8:30 – 9:15 Beelzefuzz
9:35 – 10:35 Jex Thoth
10:55 – 11:55 Age Of Taurus
12:15 – 1:30 Trouble

Ticket, Lodging, and Travel info can be found at www.daysofthedoomed.com. Don’t miss out on the biggest doom fest in the Midwest!

Thanks, everyone! See you all in June!

Trouble, “Hunters of Doom” Live in Barcelona, Dec. 2013

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Here’s the First Video of The Skull with Jeff “Oly” Olson on Drums

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 17th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

I don’t know about you, but I’m really excited at the prospect of a studio album from The Skull. The band recently announced they’d be recording this fall with Billy Anderson, and it just seems like they’re doing a lot of things the right way, playing fests like Days of the Doomed and Stoner Hands of Doom last year and the upcoming Fall into Darkness and Denver Doom Days to keep momentum going while continuing to get tighter and move forward. It’s cool to see and bodes well for the Trouble offshoot that features vocalist Eric Wagner, bassist Ron Holzner and (most recently) drummer Jeff “Oly” Olson as well as guitarists Michael Carpenter and Lothar Keller (both also of Sacred Dawn). Having seen them on stage a couple times, I’ve got my fingers crossed for what they can bring to a new record. They’re certainly in good hands.

Olson‘s first show with The Skull was this past weekend at Tequila Jaxx, and as it invariably must, video footage has surfaced of the performance. Taken from Trouble‘s 1985 outing, The Skull — which I guess for this band would be a self-titled? — “Wickedness of Man” finds the drummer fitting right in on parts he played 18 years ago. Earlier 2013 found Olson on keys alongside Victor Griffin in In~Graved, so I guess it goes to show you never quite know where you’ll wind up by the time a year is out.

Continued success. PR wire info follows the clip below:

The Skull, “Wickedness of Man” Live at Tequila Jaxx, 09.14.13

THE SKULL featuring original TROUBLE members vocalist Eric Wagner and drummer Jeff “Oly” Olson alongside the band’s longtime bassist Ron Holzner with SACRED DAWN guitarists Michael Carpenter and Lothar Keller peformed at Tequila Jaxx this past Saturday, September 14 in Mentor-On-The-Lake, Ohio. Fan-filmed video footage can be seen [above]. This is the band’s first performance with Jeff “Oly” Olson.

As previously reported, Olson rejoined THE SKULL last month stating: “I know that I’ve mentioned that I wouldn’t perform TROUBLE’s music anymore unless it’s with the other original members, but I’ve had a change of heart. I want to rock again.”

THE SKULL’s debut CD will be produced by Billy Anderson (HIGH ON FIRE, SLEEP, NEUROSIS) this autumn in Portland, Oregon and will be released via as-yet-undetermined record label.

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Blackfinger Sign to The Church Within for Debut Release

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 29th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Blackfinger‘s self-titled debut has been a while in the making for sure. Former Trouble and current The Skull frontman Eric Wagner discussed the project’s first album in an interview late in 2011, saying then that it was being mixed, so unless that took more than year — which is possible, certainly — the record has probably sat for a bit while the circumstances of its release were sorted. To that end, the band has signed with The Church Within Records (see also Serpent Venom, Seamount, Beelzefuzz, etc.) out of Germany for the physical, CD/LP editions, and while an exact issue date has yet to be announced, for sure that’s progress. Between Blackfinger, Earthen Grave, The Skull and the actual new Trouble record, 2013-2014 is shaping up to be quite an era for Chicago’s most legendary doom export, its current and former members.

The PR wire had this to say:

Eric Wagner’s BLACKFINGER Sign Worldwide Deal; Reveal New Teaser Video

From Mercyful Mike Management & Production:

“We are extremely pleased to announce that BLACKFINGER, featuring former TROUBLE vocalist Eric Wagner, has signed a worldwide deal with Germany’s prestigious Church Within Records. The mastered album is being delivered to Church Within as we speak, and the CD and Vinyl versions are expected out by the end of the year. An exact release date will be announced soon. A full tour in the support of the album is being discussed, and will be reported on as things fall into place. Until then, be sure to check out the new BLACKFINGER promo video from Kathy Reeves Productions below.”

As reported earlier, Dark Star Records will be handling the digital release of the BLACKFINGER debut, which will be available on the official release date of the CD/LP.

The debut album, with its many peaks and valleys of heaviness and melancholy, along with Wagner’s signature vocals, will mark the singer’s first recorded output since Trouble’s 2007 release “Simple Mind Condition.”

The track listing of “Blackfinger” is as follows:
I Am Jon
Yellowood
Why God
On Tuesday Morning
As Long As I’m With You
Here Comes The Rain
My Many Colored Days
For One More Day
All The Leaves Are Brown
Til Death Do Us Part
Keep Fallin’ Down

Keep updated with all BLACKFINGER news by visiting www.blackfinger.net. Stay tuned!

Blackfinger, Album Teaser

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Solace Bassist Rob Hultz Joins Trouble

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 21st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

I guess when Trouble comes knocking, you answer. Just a day after Trouble-offshoot The Skull had some lineup revelations of their own, Trouble have put word out that bassist Rob Hultz has entered the fold. Hultz is probably best known for playing in NJ doomers Solace, but he’s been based out of Chicago for some time and seems like a natural fit for the doom legends, whose new album, The Distortion Field (review here) is available now. If nothing else, it’s a hell of a line on Hultz‘s resumé.

Here’s the announcement, courtesy of Trouble‘s website:

Trouble Introduce New Bass Player

Metal legends Trouble have announced their new bassist Rob Hultz to debut on Fall Tour

On the eve of the European release of their latest studio album The Distortion Field, Trouble have made a permanent addition to the band line-up with the hiring of bass player Rob Hultz.

Hultz is no stranger to the heavy metal, hard rock, and doom metal genres as his lengthy music resume boasts.  While still in high school, he joined an East Coast hardcore band called Social Decay which served as his introduction to recording and touring.   After a decade, he left with the guitar player to form the doom metal band Godspeed and was signed to Atlantic Records.   Their debut album was recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York and produced by Rachel Bolan of Skid Row.  The band was represented by Gloria Butler Management and toured with iconic bands such as Black Sabbath, Ronnie James Dio, and Cathedral, to name just a few.

In 1996, Hultz helped form Solace, another notable doom metal band, which was signed to Meteor City Records, and played large arenas, clubs, and festivals such as Roadburn and Hellfest.  Their last recording A.D. was released on Small Stone Records in 2010 and voted Best Metal Album of the Year on iTunes.  Since then, Hultz has lent his talents on projects for Lethal Aggression and Disease Concept.

Commenting on the band’s decision, Trouble founder and guitarist Rick Wartell states, “Bruce Franklin and I played the bass parts on The Distortion Field, with the exception of one song.  However as we began preparing to tour in support of the album, it became really important to choose the right person for the band.  Rob is not only a great bass player but also a total pro with an impressive band history, and he’s got the Trouble-personality so he definitely fits in well.  We look forward to him joining us on the road and being a band-mate for a long time to come.”

Hultz has already begun rehearsals and will debut live with the band for a series of European show dates scheduled for October 2013, the details of which are still pending and will be announced separately.

Trouble, “The Broken Has Spoken” from The Distortion Field (2013)

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